Alexandria, an exhibition on Gabriele Basilico's photographic missions to Beirut

The Alexandria Art Hall is hosting, until Oct. 1, the exhibition 'Gabriele Basilico - Returns to Beirut,' dedicated to the great photographer's work in Lebanon's capital.

In Alessandria, the exhibition GABRIELE BASILICO - Ritorni a Beirut_ Back to Beirut opened on June 16 at the Sale d’Arte in Via Machiavelli 13. The exhibition, desired by theMunicipal Administration of Alessandria, is organized by theAzienda Speciale Multiservizi Costruire Insieme in collaboration with and curated by Giovanna Calvenzi of theGabriele Basilico Archive and Christian Caujolle, artistic director.

The exhibition, open until Oct. 1, presents the work made by Gabriele Basilico during four photographic missions to Beirut in 1991, 2003, 2008 and 2011. It is an exhibition that is being offered for the first time in Italy and is intended to recall the deep and passionate relationship that has linked Gabriele Basilico to the Lebanese city, which over the years has also become one of the central tenets of his engagement with photography.

In 1991, Lebanese writer Dominique Eddé, commissioned by the Hariri Foundation, invited an international group of photographers to document the central area of the city of Beirut, torn apart by a 15-year war, before its reconstruction. Gabriele Basilico, René Burri, Raymond Depardon, Fouad Elkoury, Robert Frank, and Josef Koudelka participated in the project. In 2003 Stefano Boeri, editor of the architecture magazine Domus, proposed that Gabriele Basilico document the reconstruction of the city, not by selection of individual architectures but by urban views corresponding to the photographic footage taken in 1991. In 2008 Gabriele Basilico is in Beirut for the presentation of one of his exhibitions at the Planet Discovery Center. He continues to photograph the city, documenting its reconstruction, this time without a specific assignment and also moving away from the historic center.

The Hariri Foundation decides in 2009 to launch a second collective photographic documentation mission with the goal of creating a visual archive to witness the city’s development. It therefore invites Fouad Elkoury (who was present in 1991 and is coordinating the new mission), Klavdij Sluban, Robert Polidori, and Gabriele Basilico, who will work in Beirut in 2011.

Basilico himself wrote in 2003, “The practice of returning creates a singular sentimental disposition: like waiting for a desired appointment, an awakening of memory for places, objects, people, as if reigniting the engine of a car that has been stopped for a long time. For Beirut it was even more than that.”

Pictured: Gabriele Basilico, Beirut 2003

Alexandria, an exhibition on Gabriele Basilico's photographic missions to Beirut
Alexandria, an exhibition on Gabriele Basilico's photographic missions to Beirut

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